The opening gambit for the first West End production of Chess since 1986 has been made with news that Michael Ball, Alexandra Burke, Tim Howar, Cassidy Janson and, returning from the original show, Murray Head, are to star.
This epic musical love story will open at the London Coliseum on April 26 for a five-week season.
Chess was written in 1984 by ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice.
The original London production starred Elaine Paige, Murray Head and Tommy Korberg and ran for three years in the West End.
The musical numbers include the international hit singles I Know Him So Well and One Night In Bangkok.
Other well-known songs from the score include Anthem, Someone Else’s Story, Heaven Help my Heart and Pity The Child.
Chess tells a story of love and political intrigue, set against the background of the Cold War in the late 1970s/early 1980s, in which superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political ends.
Two of the world’s greatest chess masters, one American, one Russian, are in danger of becoming the pawns in their governments’ game as the battle for the world title gets under way.
Their lives are thrown into further confusion by a Hungarian refugee, a remarkable woman, who becomes the centre of their emotional triangle.
Michael Ball is one of Britain’s leading musical theatre stars. For 30 years he has starred in musical theatre productions in the West End and on Broadway, winning critical acclaim for leading roles in Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Woman in White, Hairspray and Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
He is a double Olivier Award winner, multi-platinum recording artist and radio and TV presenter.
Alexandra Burke rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor in 2008, and, in 2014, she made her West End debut, playing the lead role of Rachel Marron in the acclaimed musical, The Bodyguard.
Two years later Alexandra starred as Deloris Van Cartier in the musical, Sister Act, a new production directed by Craig Revel Horwood which toured the UK.
English actor and recording artist Murray Head is most recognised for his international hits Superstar (from Jesus Christ Superstar) and One Night in Bangkok from Chess.
He performed the role of world chess champion Frederick “Freddie” Trumper in the original London West End stage production.
Singer Tim Howar is best known as the lead vocalist with Mike + the Mechanics. He made his West End debut as the male lead in Peggy Sue Got Married. He has also appeared in West End productions of Rent and Rock of Ages.
Chess runs at the London Coliseum from April 26 – June 2.